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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Build Bridges Of Collaboration And Watch Cities Grow Stronger And More Kind

Lessons Learned

Celebrate Your Hometown

Forbes Magazine has more than once listed Rockford as being among the most violent cities in America in addition to other equally unflattering distinctions. But to us it’s home. It may not be perfect but there is a tremendous lot of good here, and it is all of this good that we focused on when we wrote a musical play about Rockford’s story. We engaged the support and participation of more than 20 local organizations as we planned this project known as “Hometown History.” It became a grand celebration of Rockford’s story, our shared story, for which our Mayor issued a proclamation. We raised money so that all District 205  3rd graders could be transported to the stunning Coronado Theater to see and hear our shared story free of charge. The entire event felt like a huge hug for our city and certainly served as a step toward building bridges of hope and trust between neighbors. This big, affirming collaborative event received a Mayor's Arts Award for Cultural Event of the Year, and that is a credit to all of the countless  neighbors with willing hands who gathered their hearts and raised their voices in a resounding “Yes” to our city. This event was not a one shot deal, however; for there will be more and more until the bridges of collaboration and hope and trust out-number the walls of fear and despair that divide and isolate us and cause us to concede to Forbes. What do they know? They see numbers, we see neighbors.